Caroline Lucas, the Green Party’s first and only MP, has declared she will not stand at the next general election as her constituency work is stopping her from tackling climate change.
Ms Lucas, who has represented Brighton Pavilion since 2010, said local commitments meant she was “ironically” unable to devote more attention to “accelerating crises” facing climate and nature.
In a letter to constituents, obtained by The Argus newspaper, Ms Lucas said she was looking forward to having more time to explore ways to make a “liveable future a reality.”
She wrote: “I love this city and its people, and I know how incredibly blessed I’ve been to have been given the opportunity to represent you, and to work alongside you.
“I have always prided myself on being, first and foremost, a good constituency MP. I’ve done everything possible to help wherever I can and always worked to ensure that people feel heard, that their concerns matter, and that they are not alone.
“But the intensity of these constituency commitments, together with the particular responsibilities of being my party’s sole MP, mean that, ironically, I’ve not been able to focus as much as I would like on the existential challenges that drive me - the nature and climate emergencies.
“The truth is, as these threats to our precious planet become ever more urgent, I have struggled to spend the time I want on these accelerating crises.
“I have therefore decided not to stand again as your MP at the next election.”
Vote expected in 2024
No date for the next general election has been set although it has been reported a vote could be take place next year. Rishi Sunak could call for the election to happen as late as January 28, 2025.
Ms Lucas made history in 2010 when she was elected the first Green MP after she beat Labour’s candidate Nancy Platts by 1,252 votes.
Since then the 62-year-old has increased her majority at every subsequent election, securing 57.2 per cent of the vote in 2019.
In her 13 years in Parliament, Ms Lucas said her achievements including putting issues such as a universal basic income and a legal right to access nature on the political agenda, as well as securing the first Commons debate on drug law reform.
She also said the introduction of a Natural History GCSE on the school syllabus was “thanks to my work in Parliament”.